The Definitive “Split” of ’93

Trey, 1993 (A.Dines)

Trey 1993 (A.Dines)

Sixteen years ago today, Phish was in Columbus, Ohio playing the second show of a two night stand approaching the end of their Spring 1993 tour.  The setting was the ornate Newport Music Hall, and one of the jams from this show would live on forever as a part of Phish history.  The band busted into “Split Open and Melt” as the third song of the second set, and soon engaged in some incredibly compelling improvisation.  The jam stood out to the band so much, that they decided to bring it into the studio.

Most everyone is familiar with Phish’s 1994 official release, Hoist.  The last track on this album, “Demand,” is a brief musical poem with elusive meaning, ending with the lyric “Driving home to Mom and Dad / To spend a weekend with no cares.”  Then, as the music ends, we hear someone get into a car, shut the door and pop in a cassette tape.  As the subject starts the engine, we hear a ridiculously ripping “Split Open and Melt” jam playing in the fictional car.  And here is where our stories intersect- that jam after “Demand” was plucked directly from our show in Columbus sixteen years ago.  The car drives off to the soundtrack of the intensely building jam until we hear it crash, giving way a layered live mix of “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav,” and thus ending the album.  Creating a sonic collage, and juxtaposing their stripped down studio work with their layered live psychedelia, Phish clearly chose this jam with intent.  On its anniversary, let’s take a look back at a jam so utterly breathtaking that the band decided to add it to an album.

41075wa00kl_aa240_At the onset of their 1993 “speedjazz” era, Phish engaged this “Split” jam like a lioness attacking an innocent zebra, proceeding to tear it to shreds.  This was a time where jams didn’t take time to settle, but started, earnestly, before the lyrical refrain even ended.  Trey’s licks began firing early and often as Page was all over the piano like a madman- both being held together by a lightning quick groove.  Fish and Gordon provided the super-glue for this stunningly tight musical conversation.  Trey’s licks became more condensed, often referred to as his “machine gun” playing, as his guitar acrobatics pushed the jam forward.  This amphetamine-laced music was led by Trey’s absolutely shredding guitar; far moreso than later Phish.  Moving at such a break-neck pace, this was the day where Phish left your jaw on the floor in a whole different way.

phish-hartford-4-30-93Building the momentum of the jam behind Gordon’s strapping basslines and Fish’s masterfully absurd beats, Trey progressed from notes to screams of tonal terror, creating a terrifying balls-to-the-wall soundtrack to an intense sci-fi movie.  The band slaughtered this jam, all four at once, like four lionesses shredding that poor zebra until there was nothing left.  Trey’s dissonant wails led the mission, as the band tore through the jungle, never missing a collective hit amidst the maddening psychedelia.  Mike’s playing was equally impressive as he molded basslines to complement the melodic themes while also leading the insane rhythm.  Page’s piano work was that of a true jazz player, using his instrument to achieve a drone effect in the jam while simultaneously playing dizzying right-hand lines. This was a piece of improv where all four members absolutely clicked during an era when the result was completely mind-bending, “can -you-handle-this” type of music.

Mike has referenced this jam as a moment where the band “got it” and figured out what they were trying to do musically.  It is no coincidence that after this spring tour in 1993, which finished only two weeks later, Phish went on to crush Summer ’93; a tour that is still revered to this day as the epitome of an era.  Taking Mike at face value, this “Split” jam- sixteen years ago today-kick-started one of the most well loved eras in Phish history.


LISTEN TO 4.21.93 “Split” NOW! < LINK (Roll over, click play)




4.21.93 Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH < TORRENT

Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH

Newport Music Hall

Here is the complete show in which this famous “Split” was performed.  A classic show of Spring ’93, this one was definitely a high point of the tour.  On-point jamming characterized this evening and it featured many other highlights beyond “Split,” including a raw “Mike’s Groove” at the end of the night.

I: Buried Alive, Poor Heart, Foam, Guelah Papyrus, Maze, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird, Rift, Punch You in the Eye, I Didn’t Know, Run Like an Antelope

II: Possum, Mound, Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Big Ball Jam, Mike’s Song > Great Gig in the Sky > Weekapaug Groove, Gumbo

E: Sweet Adeline, Cavern

Source: Unknown

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167 Responses to “The Definitive “Split” of ’93”

  1. guyforget Says:

    SOAM spoken like a true east coaster who has never left…

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    the east/west coast variation is the same as it ever was – west is cooler, more chill, laid back – east coast is more intense and raging – the stereotypes are true in this case. I have seen raging shows on the west and mellow ones on the east but overall there’s definitely a difference.

    One reason is that a lot of heads move west as they get older and are replaced back east by new kids…

    If I were to share any Super Bowl info it would change the vegas line and hurt my profits – can’t do nothin for ya man – i will smoke a super bowl with ya this summer tho

  3. msbjivein Says:

    That works Mr Completely! A bowl it is. How about @ PHenway?? I’ll be the dude w/ Long hair and a beard in sec 30 row f! See ya there!

  4. whole tour! Says:

    new doc looks like one of santana’s paul reed smith’s!

  5. whole tour! Says:

    so how many docs does trey have now? 5? 6?

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    well red has given at least one or two away over the years

    @msb I’ll be the tripping guy who isn’t at the show

  7. Manny Phresh Says:

    I’m really glad I found this site. There is no flaming, but yet we can poke fun at one another in a mature way. I stopped going onto PT because of all the negativity.
    Thank you Mr. Minor, whops I mean Mr. Miner, for the great site.

  8. guyforget Says:

    ^I agree, only message board i have ever/will ever post on. i hear horror stories of other boards and it reinforces the fact that there is no need to get involved with that. Miner has created a nice little space for us here.

  9. msbjivein Says:

    ^^Bottoms up to that!!!

  10. msbjivein Says:

    @ Completely, What! Your not gonna make it. I thought we had a deal! Now how am I supposed to get high???

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ That is what I am talking about- this is what I had hoped for…Well played people!

    LOL @ Copmpletely: @msb I’ll be the tripping guy who isn’t at the show

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    ok I’ll come but you’ll have to give me yr ticket


  13. fluffced Says:

    Party Time?

    I’m gonna graduate college then go follow around a band whose brand new album is “Party Time”

    And my family isn’t supposed to assume the worst? ahhh Fuck em!

  14. whole tour! Says:

    three cheers and three beers for miner!

  15. Mr. Icculus Says:

    Can anyone help me out? I scored 2 Fenway tix that are PB8 sec. c
    Is PB (pavilion box 8) and correct me if wrong but this is a high end box at the top of the third base line with not alot of seats in the box and with access to low traffic RR, Concession/restaurant and wait staff. This is for ball games tho. Someone with knowledge of the field help me. will these seats rock for phish.

  16. elbows Says:

    Mr. Icculus – Although I know nothing about Fenway, I believe there is a site ( that is entirely dedicated to Fenway seating charts. I think it shows specific seat locations and even has pictures taken from that seat. I think that’s the right web address, if not, just google ‘precise seating’ and ‘Fenway.’

  17. Read Icculus Says:

    …..this site is awesome. I second the motion.

  18. whole tour! Says:

    it’s a phish show…every seat will rock!

  19. Read Icculus Says:

    ….all in favor?

  20. whole tour! Says:

    here! here!

  21. Pencilneck Says:

    Some tickets for face value on craigslist, in case any y’all er innerested.

  22. Read Icculus Says:

    …..and the motion is passed.

  23. snigglebeach Says:

    @ Mr. Icculus

    i am not positive, But i think PB8 is way up, on top of the private suites down the third base line.

    I am in PB16 and the only other 16 or 8 are grandstand seats and would be called that.

    If we are way up there i think it will be great. No overhang to screw up the sound. the lights should be great from up there. we will be nearly miles from the stage, but on the plus, security will be minimum. and i have sat way up on the other side for a game, and bathrooms are less used and beer lines are way smaller too.

  24. Pence Says:

    Im new to ebay and i cant stand that the aution ends at 1:00 am but I gues thats what autobids are for. anyways all profits will be donated to miner. Thanks for looking.

  25. Mugician Says:

    I’ve got a ticket question…

    I scored both nights Gorge and a Shoreline lawn through the lotto, and I’m trying to get my friend to the shows. I’ve secured all my deals except for one Gorge ticket.

    My question is, I’m planning on buying two Shoreline lawns off a guy who got ’em off ticketmaster. The guy sounds legit, but is there anything I can do to ensure I’m buying real tickets? Or is this a pure trust thing?

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